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Roger Goodell says bounties will be eradicated from NFL

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday that he's confident bounty hunting will no longer be an issue in the NFL because of the severe penalties handed out in the wake of the New Orleans Saints' scandal.

Goodell said the actions taken by the league "speak very loudly."

"I heard that from our clubs, from our personnel," he said during a news conference in Chicago on Thursday. "They recognize it's not part of the game. It doesn't need to be part of the game. And I don't think it's going to be an issue going forward."

The NFL Players Association has challenged Goodell's power to impose penalties for what the league said was a three-year "bounty" program that targeted specific players.

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The league suspended Saints defenders Jonathan Vilma (2012 season) and Will Smith (four games), as well as Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (eight games) and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita (three games). Coach Sean Payton (2012 season), general manager Mickey Loomis (eight games), and assistant coach Joe Vitt (six games) were also suspended, while former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was banned indefinitely.

There was also a $500,000 fine for the team and the loss of two second-round draft picks.

"I think one of the things that's made the NFL great is we've solved our own problems," Goodell said. "I believe that our process has worked. We've modified those processes ... But we do want to make sure that at every point we uphold the standards that our fans expect."

The union has filed two separate grievances related to the case, one challenging the premise that the bounty program is not a salary-cap issue and another challenging Goodell's ability to rule on appeals of punishments that stem from on-field behavior.

Both grievances have been heard by arbitrators.

According to NFL.com's Steve Wyche, the former grievance, which was heard Wednesday, will likely be decided on within a week, while a decision could come on the latter grievance very soon.

Goodell would not say if he thought the case would be resolved before the end of the season, pointing out that it's in arbitration as he left Soldier Field on Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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